‘The Tutor’ seems to have lost its lesson plan

March 25, 2014

Somewhere between the song about erectile dysfunction and the giant painted backdrop of the Matterhorn, I wondered where “The Tutor” lost its way.

The new show at Village Theatre, which opened March 20, begins interestingly enough. It tells the story of Edmund, the titular tutor, who teaches dumb rich kids to allow constant work on his never-finished novel. Things take their inevitable turn when he lands a gig tutoring Sweetie, a rebellious teenager who provides just the right spark to loosen Edmund’s creativity.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre Eric Ankrim, as Edmund, and Katie Griffith, as Sweetie, star in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
Eric Ankrim, as Edmund, and Katie Griffith, as Sweetie, star in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor.’

Developed as part of the Village Originals Series of New Musicals, “The Tutor” fell flat after a promising start.

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KIDSTAGE vet takes center stage in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor’

March 18, 2014

Village Theatre’s latest fare educates its lead as well as the character she plays.

In the new musical “The Tutor,” opening March 20, 16-year-old Katie Griffith plays a sullen teenage rich kid who gets taken under the wing of an aspiring novelist looking to make a quick buck by educating wealthy high schoolers on the side. The tutor, played by Eric Ankrim, may have bitten off more than he can chew with his newest charge.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre Katie Griffith (left), as Sweetie, and Eric Ankrim, as Edmond, enact a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Tutor.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
Katie Griffith (left), as Sweetie, and Eric Ankrim, as Edmond, enact a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Tutor.’

“He tutors stupid rich kids and he gets me — a punk rocker who couldn’t care about less,” Griffith said. “Chaos ensues.”

While she has had a great amount of experience within the Village Theatre community, this will mark the first time the Issaquah High School student will play the lead on the main stage.

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To the Editor

January 7, 2014

Library

Change to the online system isn’t such a welcome one

Well, folks, the King County Library System program writers could not leave well enough alone and had to do a drastic change to the online operation.

I do not find the new online process very acceptable. Hope others have better success with it than I have so far.

They also dropped the feature that showed which titles had been checked out previously by a KCLS user. I have checked out more than 8,000 titles and cannot remember all the titles — now the KCLS will not help me in this regard.

I have read all the Western stories and have started through them again, some I recall and some I don’t recall, as just had my 85th birthday, ha ha.

Ken Sessler

Issaquah

Klahanie

Vote for annexation into Issaquah

I would like to remind my neighbors on the plateau that there will be an important election Feb. 11.

This election is about the annexation of the area known as the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area into the city of Issaquah.

A vote of “yes” on the measure promises to bring lower property taxes to the area and will provide the plateau with many badly needed services not provided by King County.

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KIDSTAGE revisits popular musical ‘Trust Me’

January 7, 2014

Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE TeenSelect program’s latest production, “Trust Me,” brings the musical full circle for several of those involved.

Regan Morris, a 16-year-old student at Issaquah High School, has been involved in KIDSTAGE since she was 9. Her brother Collin played the original lead role in the musical’s debut in 2006. She is excited to play the primary love interest in the tale.

By Greg Farrar Bryan Sevener (left), in the role of commanding officer Markus Brennan, gets punched by Trent Moury, in the role of Turner, as they learn the choreography of a fight scene during a street-clothes rehearsal for the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Trust Me’ at Village Theatre’s First Stage.

By Greg Farrar
Bryan Sevener (left), in the role of commanding officer Markus Brennan, gets punched by Trent Moury, in the role of Turner, as they learn the choreography of a fight scene during a street-clothes rehearsal for the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Trust Me’ at Village Theatre’s First Stage.

“This was my favorite production my brother was in,” Morris said. “He was such an inspiration to me and was the reason I got into theater.”

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Cool off indoors with hot KIDSTAGE ‘Kiss Me Kate’

July 9, 2013

Now that Independence Day has rolled past and summer has officially kicked off, outdoor activities abound as the weather becomes more accommodating.

However, Village Theatre has something for those who enjoy a nicely air-conditioned event, indoors, free from the sun’s hot glare. The KIDSTAGE summer independent production series presents “Kiss Me Kate,” a fresh take on the Cole Porter classic musical.

By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre Shannon McEldowney (Lois/Bianca), Chandler Gerdes (Hortensio), Jake Nicholson (Bill/Lucentio), and Nick McCarthy (Gremio) perform the song ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ in the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Kiss Me Kate.’

By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre
Shannon McEldowney (Lois/Bianca), Chandler Gerdes (Hortensio), Jake Nicholson (Bill/Lucentio), and Nick McCarthy (Gremio) perform the song ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ in the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Kiss Me Kate.’

Director Tucker Goodman said the production should appeal to a wide audience.

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Young actor readies for encore in ‘The Music Man’

February 5, 2013

Josh Feinsilber rehearses at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Winthrop Paroo in 'The Music Man.' By Jeff Carpenter/The 5th Avenue Theatre

Josh Feinsilber rehearses at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Winthrop Paroo in ‘The Music Man.’ By Jeff Carpenter/The 5th Avenue Theatre

River City, Iowa — a Main Street, U.S.A., hamlet created as the setting for Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” — is almost home for performer Josh Feinsilber.

The fledgling actor and Pacific Cascade Middle School sixth-grader portrayed shy Winthrop Paroo in a July 2012 youth production at Village Theatre and is poised to return to stage in the role as The 5th Avenue Theatre rolls out “The Music Man” on Feb. 7.

Josh, 12, is eager to slip into the role again after a turn in Village Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof” — a record-setting smash for the Issaquah playhouse.

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Musical about surviving high school is as easy as ‘Rocket Science’

January 1, 2013

Nick McCarthy (left) as Heston, Frankie Curry-Edwards as Honoria, David Ibarra as Hal and Katie Griffith as Jenny perform a scene from the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Rocket Science’ at Village Theatre. By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

Hal Hefner is accustomed to high school’s indignities and perils.

Besides a tumultuous home life, high school presents a treacherous gauntlet for Hal, a stutterer. The clumsy attempts at romance, friendship and, importantly, earning a spot on the debate team form the plot for “Rocket Science” — a musical created for youth performers and set to open at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre on Jan. 5.

The decision to present “Rocket Science” — a musical fostered on the Village Theatre stage in the Festival of New Musicals — is not rocket science, cast members and the director said.

The piece is written specifically for teenagers. “Rocket Science” marks the first time KIDSTAGE performers presented a musical from the festival. The show also marks the debut for the “Rocket Science” musical.

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Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE hosts Sing It Forward fundraiser

October 16, 2012

Performers in Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE program plan to sing to raise money for the youth education effort.

Sing It Forward includes a benefit concert from young performers in the KIDSTAGE and Village Theatre Institute programs. The program includes a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 and a pizza party at 6 p.m. Oct. 21.

The benefit concert is meant for patrons 21 and older; the pizza party is more casual and open to all ages. Both events take place at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N.

Tickets for the benefit concert cost $100. Tickets for the pizza party cost $40 for general admission and $20 for youth admission. Learn more at www.villagetheatre.org/SIF-Issaquah.php.

Skyline High School student takes stage in ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

September 11, 2012

Brendan Rosell rehearses a dance number from ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical.’ By C. Rupley

Skyline High School junior Brendan Rosell grew up on the theater stage.

From dance classes through Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE program to starring roles in school plays, Rosell seized any local opportunity to perform for an audience.

“I’ve grown up in the performing arts community,” he said. “My mother was a dancer and performing has always been such an enriching thing for me.”

Now, Rosell, 16, will participate in his biggest performance yet when he joins Seattle Musical Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” beginning Sept. 14 at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, “Legally Blonde: The Musical” incorporates singing and dancing to the story about a sorority girl who attends Harvard Law School to try and impress her ex-boyfriend.

The show’s original run on Broadway in 2007 received seven Tony Award nominations.

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‘The Music Man’ comes to town

July 24, 2012

Josh Feinsilber (clockwise from bottom right), Emily Johnson, Dan Ostrander, Regan Morris and Taylor Stutz star in ‘The Music Man.’ By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

“The Music Man” rolls onto the Village Theatre stage soon as young performers conjure Americana, circa 1912, and upend small-town life after a con man comes to town.

“The Music Man” follows slick, silver-tongued Harold Hill, a con man posing as a bandleader to sell band instruments and uniforms to the unknowing population of River City, Iowa, and then skip town with the money.

The hitch in Hill’s scheme is Marian Paroo, River City’s prim-and-proper librarian and piano teacher. Paroo starts to uncover the deceit just as she falls for the con man.

KIDSTAGE performers present “The Music Man” as a SummerStock production from July 28 to Aug. 5 at the Frances J. Gaudette Theatre, or Mainstage.

Under the guidance of professionals, cast members between ages 8 and 18 perform. The orchestra includes advanced student musicians, too.

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